Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the category “Director”

Mahayana (Yana) Landowne

yana_landowneTheater Director
New York, New York USA

I am inspired by you, women of the theater. By how we find our path and realize our vision. By how we grow and support growth in others.

My goal as an artist is to inspire creative thought – I want to dive into and mine the past to replenish a jaded cultural community. As a theater director, I want to open the question of participatory art and audience engagement. I want to encourage empowerment of all involved in the process of making an artistic experience.

Here is a clip of the Picasso Project – I want to develop it into Enter- art- ment (working title) – a play/movement piece about activating and inhabiting fine art. Using paintings by modern and contemporary artists as storyboards, we will create a series of scenes; which will intertwine opening up meaning and the permission of diverse interpretation for performance company and the audience. Each individual scene explores excerpts from an artist’s body of work and is sculpted by the rhythm, visual world, and energy of the artist’s work.

When first starting to explore this idea with Picasso’s Blue Period, I was amazed by the depth of plot and visual meaning that could be mined by physically exploring the painting. Now I’d like to experiment with a variety of artists such as Goya, Toulouse Lautrec, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dali. Any suggestions of artists would be fantastic.

I want to make a piece that can perform locally and tour. The tour performance will include an interactive audience workshop, so they can experience inhabiting paintings too. I can see this piece performing at museums and performing arts centers around the country and the world. It expands definitions and is a playful way to encourage engaging in Art.

And then there are the streets and taking performance and radical transformation 😉 that is a different side of the story.

Mahayana (Yana) Landowne‘s projects include: Impossible Country (MudBone), Fairytale Experiment (Rubulad), MIXED (Baruch), Beyond My Remote Control (Wild Project), Picasso Project (Luna Stage), The Heiress, (Mint), Machinal (Rochester). Favorites include Skriker, Seagull, brass logic, Streetcar, Obgynt, Lear, and Mud. Collaborator- Lush Vally. NYU-BFA-acting YSD-MFA-directing. Creativity Workshops – Radiant Axis (

Marcina Zaccaria

Marcina ZaccariaWriter, Director, Administrator
New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
I find that often I look toward painting as a source of inspiration. Lately, I have been interested by the Futurists. I recently became interested in the futurists who originated in Italy in the early 20th century, as I previously had some understanding of futurism with regard to Russian art. The Futurists loved speed, technology, and the industrial city. Futurism, as described by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, prides itself on throwing away the static and irrelevant concepts of the past and celebrating change, originality, and innovation in culture and society.

I am quite metered and even keeled. When I see the blitz and buzz of futurism, I find a forward momentum. Futurism speaks to finding transformation in motion. Sculptures like Umberto Boccioni’s ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’ are inspirational in terms of their analysis of movement and fluidity. How can I use that patterning to create interesting options for choreography? How can that movement immediately lend itself to thinking about how to direct a scene from a play?

I am just beginning to consider painting again, and I constantly ask myself to attempt that practice even though it is outside of my artistic discipline. I enjoy looking at the dynamics of movement and the expression of natural forms. I find it incredibly freeing. How do we use light and shadow to create the perception of forward momentum? How do we find vocabulary to critique the lines, curves, twists, and bends that can be found in futurist paintings?

I appreciate working on this on a two-dimension canvas, as it seems easy to create options in a choreographic rehearsal, particularly when a skilled scenic designer is nearby. When I become too reliant on what I already know, and when my thinking gets to be a bit static, I think it is quite liberating to test out these ideas. After all, futurism influenced art movements such as Art Deco, Constructivism, Surrealism, and Dada. Maybe, it’s where the next great idea is, and I think it’s worth looking.

Marcina Zaccaria is a director, administrator, and writer. She has directed at New Dramatists, Soho Rep, HERE, and DTW, and has been an administrator at Lincoln Center. A NY International Fringe Festival Adjudicator, her monologues are in “InterJACtions: Monologues from the Heart of Human Nature (Vol. II)”, available on

Laura Caparrotti

Laura Caparrotti, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenArtistic Director of Kairos Italy Theater, actress, director, producer, critic, theater absolute lover.
Rome, Italy and New York, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration? Life, images, books, social/political issues: when something strikes me inside, it stays with me until I do something with it.

The ONE OF your favorite: book The Via Veneto papers by E. Flaiano / movie: Rocco and his brother by L. Visconti / line from a play: Men shut their doors against a setting sun – Shakespeare –
To dream, to laugh, to move on, to be free, on my own
To have a keen eye and a voice of strong tone,
Wear my hat awry as I prefer,
For no reason at all engage in combat or pen a verse!
To work without worry of glory or fortune
Such a voyage of which we dream to the moon!
Pen not a line that from myself departs
And comes from anywhere except straight from my heart,
Be satisfied with flowers, leaves, fruits of the land
If they’re in your own garden and grew by your hand!
And, if at all, you should triumph by chance,
Don’t give unto Cesar, take up your stance
Stand up for yourself, you merit, ‘ti’s thee
In short, the parasitic ivy I disdain to be
So even without the tree or the stone
I won’t get very high, perhaps, but alone! Cyrano de Bergerac (not great translation)

/cocktail: too many!

Artists/People who changed my theatrical life: the Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo who taught me how to breathe at theater, the actor Mario Carotenuto who taught me how to smell theater, the actress Lucilla Morlacchi who taught me how sacred theater is. And my parents, who made me experience theater since I was little.

Is there anything you still dream of doing? A lot! I want to keep bringing Italian theater to the States and to open the first Italian theater in New York. And I want to do theater all my life!

I feel most like myself when I …. Dance/Theater.

What is your best escape? Dancing

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you? I am an open book, able only to hide deep sadness. I guess it’s a survival instinct!

Laura Caparrotti is a director, actress, journalist, teacher, lecturer, consultant, dialect-coach, curator with an Italian accent. She studied and worked professionally for over ten years in Italy before relocating to NY where she founded KIT-Kairos Italy Theater, now the main Italian theater company in New York. And she can cook!

Paula D’Alessandris

Paula D'Alessandris, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector/ Producer
New York, New York USA

What’s your favorite pop culture guilty pleasure?
My favorite guilty pleasure is that I can (and do) watch PRIDE & PREJUDICE every time it’s on. Which, thanks to cable, it always is.

What play or production changed your life?
When I directed my first show – Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter and it got a huge positive reaction that I wasn’t expecting. I knew that pursuing a directing career was the right path for me.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Directing at the Donmar and the Royal Court

What is your best escape?
I haven’t found one yet but I’m open to suggestions!

Paula D’Alessandris is the Artistic Director/Founder of Mind The Gap Theatre dedicated to producing new British plays in NYC and in fostering an exchange of new work between US/UK artists.

Judith Binus

Stage Manager, Director-in-Training
New York, New York USA

What’s your favorite cocktail?
Brandy Alexander (my Aunt Dorothy’s recipe)

What play or production changed your life?
Louisville Children’s Theatre production of Tom Sawyer. I had five lines, saw a big black box with levers offstage right, said “What’s that?”, was told it was the light board, ran the board for the next production and never set foot onstage again.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?

I feel most like myself when …
…I’m working in a theatre

Where do you look for inspiration?
Smart directors; smart, well-written plays and smart, professional actors

What is your best escape?
Doing the New York Times crossword

Judith Binus: My original ambition was to be a lighting designer but fell in love with stage managing. To participate in the development of words on a page to a full-fledged, brilliant production brings me great joy. After a sabbatical, I am looking for plays to direct, beginning a new chapter.

Wendy Barrie-Wilson

Wendy Barrie-Wilson, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenActor, Potter, Teacher, Director
New York, New York + Ohio USA

What play or production changed your life?
From Stoppard’s Arcadia I learned what life was all about. If we could define a leaf mathematically, then we could define a tree, then a forest, and then the earth. And does that mean it is all predestined? And the answer is… we may never know — so Dance.

From Doubt I learned empathy is a long hard continuous road — learning how to walk in another’s shoes.

From summers watching the Stratford Shakespeare Festival – I learned what acting was about.

What’s your favorite play?
A Streetcar Named Desire –which I have had the fortune of working on 5 times. And Cyrano de Bergerac that I have done several times and played nearly all the women in it- just waiting to do the Duenna.

What’s your favorite line from a play?
“Sometime there is God so quickly”- Tennessee Williams
“I am in mourning for my life”- Anton Chekhov

What’s your favorite movie of late?
I had one of those deep cathartic desperate cries after watching Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go”. And filled with furious anger after seeing Rachel Weisz in “The Whistleblower”.

Where do you look for inspiration?
When those strange, synchronistic, wonder-filled moments happen in life that let you breath and see the world a little differently… even if only for a short time.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Everything. Travel to the Grand Canyon, The Dakotas, Angkor Watt, Bali, Samoa, and see Venice, Santorini and Kauai again. Learn Flamenco dancing, write a book, work on more feature films.
I’d really like to build a home. Put a pool in. Make a lot of money. The usual stuff.

But for now I will continue to caretake my mother who has Dementia (without any help from my family) and rest when I can while I wonder what life will put before me later on.

I feel most like myself when I …. working on a show, rehearsing and discovering.

What is your best escape?
Working on a show. Or getting a long massage.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
A psychic told me I had three past lives. Russian, Victorian England and Native American. I think she was right.

Wendy Barrie-Wilson: Actor: Over 100 plays, including Sister Aloysius in European premiere of Doubt in Vienna, Austria. (SALT Award &  DayTony Award for subsequent productions of Doubt.)  Broadway: Our Town (Paul Newman) and All My Sons. TV: Mrs. Chitwood on The Guiding Light.  Director: “Einstein and The Roosevelts”. Professor: Acting – Denison University.

Elaine Smith

Elaine Smith, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenWriter, Actor, Director
Florida and New York, USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
People, places, plays and privacy

What’s your favorite book /
To Kill a Mockingbird

favorite movie /
Too many to choose

favorite line from a play /
I’ve never been sure I am remembering with absolute accuracy, and may Tom Stoppard forgive me if I’ve got it wrong:

Will you be a poet, or a scholar?
I don’t mind
Oh, it helps to mind. Life is in the minding.  — The Invention of Love

favorite pop culture guilty pleasure /
Way too much TV

favorite cocktail /
Not much of a drinker – but, sadly, I never turn down a chip or a cheese doodle

What play or production changed your life?
What play didn’t? Isn’t that why we do this?

If I had to narrow it down, I would say getting the lead in my kindergarten class play because I was the only kid who could remember the lines was definitely an inciting incident. Now, all I can remember is that it was something about Candyland. Having the opportunities to play Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst, Jessie in ‘night, Mother, Carole Cutrere in Orpheus Descending exposed me to the joy and terror of great roles with great writing. Seeing Tina Landau’s Orestes forever changed my view of directing. And the first play I wrote – when I discovered that miracles can happen, risks pay off and it’s worth asking for what you want—because actress Linda Hamilton so generously (and brilliantly!) participated in a reading, thus totally altering pretty much everything in my theatrical life.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Learning to play the piano
Learning to draw
Learning to cook
Learning. . . .

I feel most like myself when I ….
Am in a theatre – working or watching

What is your best escape?
A good book. A good play. A good movie. A good friend.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
If I told, it wouldn’t be something nobody knows. And every character should have a secret.

Elaine Smith is an actor, director and award-winning playwright, whose plays include Angels and Ministers of Grace Defend Us, Liars’ Poker, Picture Perfect, Ten Minute Life, She Hung Up and works-in-progress: Three Mile Limit and PowerPlay. She is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and the Dramatists Guild.

Melanie Sutherland

Melanie Sutherland, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector / Event Producer / Executive Coach
Brooklyn, New York USA

Where do you look for inspiration?
Visual arts: museum or galleries; plus, I dabble in watercolor, create found-object collages, and design Wrist Art.  Music: anything from Carmina Burana to I Gotta Feeling.  oh, and, I Love Lucy re-runs…

What’s your favorite movie?
To Kill A Mockingbird
also: Amadeus; Across the Universe; Moulin Rouge

What’s your favorite line from a play?
I have a favorite quote from a Hindu poem: “If you have two pennies, with the first buy bread and with the second buy hyacinths for your soul.”

What’s your favorite cocktail?
A vodka martini, heavy on the olives; however, you’ll more often see me with a glass of merlot.

What’s your favorite pop culture guilty pleasure?
I kind of hate to admit this, but when I have time, I watch ANTM online….

What play or production changed your life?
On a high school trip in 1975, I saw the Broadway revival of Candide. The production style blew my mind – the actors performed on platforms in front, behind, and between the audience, who sat on bleachers or stools on stage; the orchestra played from four corners. In my career as a director, I’ve had the most fun when I can explode the staging outside the proscenium arch.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
Yes! Riding an elephant… swimming with dolphins…… climbing Machu Picchu…… exploring the Great Wall of China… and working as artistic director in a regional theatre.

I feel most like myself when I …am in rehearsal: Discussing the script with the playwright; teasing out the nuances of the writer’s words and rhythms with the actors; exploring the world of the play with the designers – somehow colors, scents, sounds are brighter when I’m in rehearsal.

What is your best escape?
Hiking through the woods with my dog, or, sitting on a beach watching the waves. Or simply walking through Prospect Park is enough to both soothe and stimulate. And if it’s pouring rain, getting lost in a good book.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I modeled sportswear and swimwear in runway shows for Seventeen magazine and department stores when I was a teenager.

Melanie Sutherland conceived/directed 7 Sins in 60 Minutes. Theatres include: Cherry Lane, Circle Rep, Culture Project, Rattlestick, Women’s Project; and a gender-bending The Misanthrope for AAI Prods. Awards include: John Golden; Who’s Who in America, & three others; Atlantic Center for the Arts residency; NYWA board member; WAMCo past president; SDC.

Alice Reagan

Alice Reagan, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenDirector
New York, New York

Where do you look for inspiration?
Visual art. If I wasn’t a director, I’d be an art historian, preferably an expert in 19th century French and German painting—for now I’m just a dilettante in that area, although a passionate one.

What play or production changed your life?
I saw Strindberg’s Dance of Death at Arena Stage in 1996, with JoAnne Akalaitis directing. I sat there, stunned, for the entire play. It was funny, bloody, beautiful, and shocking. Two fantastic actors knocking each other around, while a soldier silently walked back and forth upstage, just outside a window, throughout the performance. I remember the stage was raked, adding to the off-kilter feeling of the emotions. Everything was larger than life, but absolutely knowable. After that I knew I wanted to direct plays, for sure.

Is there anything you still dream of doing?
I spent six months in Bali when I was in my early 20s, and I want to go back and walk in the rice fields again. It’s still the most gorgeous, troubling place I have ever been. And not in an Eat, Pray, Love kind of way. I traveled with a group of actors and dancers to their gigs around the island. The ever-changing geography and the many interactions I had were overwhelming. To my eyes, performance suffuses every aspect of life there; there was a very porous boundary between on and off stage. Seeing this troupe’s work and their collaboration was exactly what I needed at the time to push me closer to the work I wanted to make and the person I wanted to be. It was an extreme place to spend some time during an extreme period in anyone’s life, young adulthood, and I think I have unfinished business there.

I feel most like myself when I ….
am in a rehearsal room, watching actors make discoveries on their feet.

What’s the one thing nobody knows about you?
I like to be alone. I think the need for solitude balances the communal work of directing.

Alice Reagan is a freelance theater director based in New York City. She most frequently directs classics and new plays that experiment with form and content. Princess Grace Award. Drama League Directing Fellow. Women’s Project Directors Lab. Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. She is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College, Columbia University.

Karin de la Penha

Karin de la PenhaActress and singer; director
New York, New York USA

I glean tremendous inspiration from both past and present influences, encompassing many diverse worlds. But there are few people more inspiring to me than the generous creatures who choose the performing world as their path in life.

I was plunked into this biz at the tender age of 4, and was soon earning serious enough money to pay our rent. I went to a performing arts boarding school in England, and was taught by, and was a student with, extraordinary people, with many of whom I’m still in touch. It was a rich and unusual childhood.

I quit performing when I was still very young–barely old enough to vote–because I knew I was becoming a little myopic. This decision took me in a couple of other professional directions: journalism, psychotherapy, and, finally, I started and ran a couple of theater companies successfully enough that the US Embassy invited me to teach and put on a show Kuala Lumpur in the wake of 9/11.

Twenty years later, I realized I had unfinished business as a performer, and in coming back I’ve found a balance I hadn’t realized I was missing. I’m thankful for my time away, because I steeped myself in very different disciplines, broadened my perspective, honed my mind, traveled a great deal, and filled out as a person more than I believe I would have done had I spent my entire life exclusively as a performer.

I feel most myself when I’m being thoroughly well-used as an entertainer. It’s immaterial whether I’m acting, singing, or directing, working in front of a live audience or hunkering down in the 2-dimensional media. I’m an omnivorous and gluttonous reader, adore animals (and some humans…!), and for psychic R&R, I can think of nothing better than hiking in the hills with my dog and our doggy friends (which is hampered by the fact that she lives in Santa Barbara and I see her all too rarely).

One thing few people know about me is that my grandmother was found in a shoe box under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Karin de la Penha ( has worked in the US, UK, Europe, and Malaysia. Selected credits: The Clean House, Fallen Angels, The Fly in the Fridge (Ed. Fringe Fest. Award); Private Lives (Independent & Dramalogue Awards); Old Times (Independent Award); FILM: Lock Out (Lead); Time After Time (Jenny). WEB:

Post Navigation